Parents in Riverside School District want answers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Parents in Riverside School District want answers

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The meeting Thursday night came with a new added feature. Two deputies were there to monitor security. The meeting Thursday night came with a new added feature. Two deputies were there to monitor security.
CHATTAROY, Wash. -

Parents in the Riverside School District are still fighting to get answers about what's going on at Riverside High School. Their principal was put on administrative leave on May 3rd. The superintendent wrote in a letter to Principal John McCoy, "Dear John, as you know, I recently became aware of allegations involving your conduct. Therefore, I am placing you on administrative leave with pay." But parents still don't know why.

A school board meeting Thursday night wasn't like last months, where public comment was shut down. However, it was packed to the brim, with people overflowing to the hallway.

The meeting Thursday night came with a new added feature. Two deputies were there to monitor security. Deputies tell KHQ they've never been called to come to a school board meeting before.

In addition, if people wanted to participate in public comment, they had to fill out a form and could not speak longer than 3 minutes.

Before the meeting kicked-off, a board member read a statement. "The board of directors is committed to conducting a thorough investigation," said Roger Pratt, with the Riverside School District Board.

They've hired an outside investigator. Regardless of the statement, there's still so much that people want to know. "My biggest concerns is my kids being let down and it's really hard to say that," said Riverside School District Parent Scott Ellsworth. Ellsworth says that one of his kids hasn't been getting the proper help to achieve in school. "Unfortunately, my wife and I have been looking to take our kids out of the system," said Ellsworth. After learning about their principal put on administrative leave, it was the tip of the iceberg. "What is going on with our school? To be honest with you, I don't know John McCoy that well. I don't know the whole circumstances that fell behind it but it's kind of a big secret," said Ellsworth.

KHQ tried to ask the superintendent some questions again Thursday night but was not given direct answers and was declined an on camera interview.

KHQ asked several times to find out who the investigator is but would not get a straight answer.

The Riverside school board says its investigation into the principal's actions is still going on. They have made no decision.

They say they are meeting with John McCoy sometime soon in an executive session. KHQ has reached out to John McCoy and his lawyers who have said before that they do not know what the allegations are.

A question that people have asked: do parents have the right to know what's going on?

The answer is actually complex. KHQ talked with one local district who says that they try to be as transparent as possible. But a different district said don't have a right to know, especially if it's a personnel issue because those situations are protected under federal law.

Now if the kids are in danger, KHQ is told that's different. Then it's a criminal matter and that information would be made public but not by the school, by law enforcement.

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